I laugh off my silly mistake and slip it into the 'Stupid Things I've Done' file. Amazing how quickly this brings up other bloopers I've committed in days gone by. Like last February 14 when I sent my daughter's Valentine's Day package to my son's address several states away. Or the more recent day when I set my cell phone in my purse, slung the purse over my shoulder and prepared to leave the house only to have the home phone ring. I briefly glanced at the cordless' caller ID and recognized the number as familiar, though not certain who it was, and answered it. Only silence on the other end. I hung up. I won't tell you how long it took me to figure out that -you guessed it- I had accidentally knocked the speed dial button for 'home' on my cell, and I was the mysterious caller to my own home phone. It doesn't get much bloopier than that.
It's harder though, to excuse myself for those blunders that have me worried that I've ruined a friendship, or permamently scarred my kids, or tarnished my reputation. Those nights when sleep competes with relentless thoughts of fear of rejection and reruns of the embarassing episode never quit. And they play in slow motion, so I can examine the details again, searching for a merciful conclusion.
The deep, relaxing breathing recommended for times like these, doesn't soothe me. I don't like the step of holding my breath before releasing it slowly. Somehow, the amplified sound of my heart freaking out isn't music to my ears. And the muscle squeezing exercise doesn't do much for me either. It reminds me of a book I used to read to my kids about two racoons, Gus and Buster. Older brother Gus isn't too pleased with Buster's tossing and turning in the bunk above him and tells him to try harder to go to sleep. So Buster tries harder.
"Go to sleep, toes, he [Buster] whispers. Go to sleep, legs.
But by the time he got to his knees his toes were wide awake again."
So what's a frazzled, zooming mind to do to get some peace and rest?
Is God's word true? Does his peace pass understanding? Does he answer a desperate plea for release of vain imaginings and for an anxious mind to be pacified? I can say with confidence, yes he does! But it may not come quickly, and it takes a deliberate resolve to refocus and set my mind on the Prince of Peace. Comforting words from Bible verses I've memorized as a child can be summoned to the moment.
"The Lord is my Shepherd, I will not be in want. He makes me to lie down in green pastures, he leads me besides still waters, he restores my soul." Or "Let us then approach the throne of grace with confidence, that we may receive mercy and find grace to help in time of trouble." Help! is the operative word here.
Dwelling on names that describe God, in alphabetical order, brings his awesomeness into clearer focus: Almighty, Beautiful One, Creator, Deliverer, etc. (If you come up with a good one for N, let me know!) I'm amazed how many songs I've memorized, just by singing them in church or listening to them on the radio. I find sweet comfort in reciting in my mind, words of hymns:
Open the wells of grace and salvation,
Pour the rich streams deep into my heart.
Cleanse and refine my thought and affection,
Seal me and make me pure as thou art.
Jesus, Jesus, how I trust him,
How I've proved him 'ore and 'ore.
Jesus, Jesus, precious Jesus,
Oh, for grace to trust him more.
As I've proved his care and faithfulness to come to me in my distress, my faith has grown. Could this be part of what it means for his strength to be made perfect in weakness? For every stupid thing I've done, he gives grace enough to cover it? Even turns it into something good? What a God is this!
Oh, back to that dreadful morning of spitting out black olives from my yogurt. Would you believe I also set the toaster on fire trying to warm one of my favorite Panera Bread bagels? It's the cinnamon crunchy one with all the sweet, sugary, crumbly, crackly bumps on top. Did you know? Blackened bagels aren't edible.
I lamented my loss of delectable carbs all the way to work. At least the house is still standing, and when I got home later that day there was no second-hand smoke to give away my pyromania.